Colleagues’ academic achievements celebrated as contributor to business success

The commitment of 75 colleagues who have gone above and beyond their day to day work role to achieve academic and vocational success has been celebrated by The Southern Co-operative.

The diversity of academic achievements awarded at a recent ‘Celebration of Success’ at The Southern Co-operative in Portsmouth ranged from retail apprenticeships and management diplomas to professional certificates and diplomas in retail and funeral service. HR Director at The Southern Co-operative, Sarah Kavanagh, said: “Our colleagues are The Southern Co-operative’s greatest asset and we are committed to supporting all levels of academic and vocational achievement to help colleagues up the career ladder.”

The Southern Co-operative retail colleagues apprenticeships awards Celebration of Success 2014 resizedMatthew Gillies, 23, is a Team Leader at The Southern Co-operative store in Gosport. Awarded for achieving both an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Retail and CMI Level 3 Diploma in First Line Management, he said; “It’s been challenging balancing my work, studying and still having time for myself, especially as I’ve been learning to drive too, but it’s been well worth it and I’m glad I’ve done it! It’s been good to meet colleagues from other stores too. You definitely get out of it what you put in; I’m hoping to progress into management.”

Funeral Co-ordinator Sarah Bland, who was awarded her Advanced Diploma in Funeral Arranging and Administration, is pictured 2nd from right.

Funeral Co-ordinator Sarah Bland, who was awarded her Advanced Diploma in Funeral Arranging and Administration, is pictured 2nd from right.

Funeral Co-ordinator Sarah Brand, who has worked for The Southern Co-operative for four years at its Chichester Funeralcare branch, was awarded for her Advanced Diploma in Funeral Arranging and Administration. Sarah said; “My manager badgered me to get this qualification and I have thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so I’d like to continue my studies. It’s been an extension of my role and has helped me train someone else in the team. I got a real buzz when I knew I’d passed!”

Presenting the awards, Mark Smith, Chief Executive at The Southern Co-operative, said; “Achieving this academic success over and above the day job is a big effort and it’s important that we give our colleagues the recognition they rightly deserve. Not only are they developing their career which pays off tremendously on a personal level, but they are moving the business forward and contributing to the ongoing success of The Southern Co-operative.”

Over 4000 colleagues work for The Southern Co-operative across 11 counties in southern England. The independent, regional co-operative, which earlier this year announced annual sales figures for 2013 of £327 million, encompasses food retail with around 200 food stores, end of life services with around 50 funeral branches plus a crematorium and natural burial site and an online home shopping business, Co-operative Independent Living. For details of career opportunities with The Southern Co-operative, visit www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/careers.